Capstone Scholarship & Discovery Course

Who can participate as a Capstone Faculty Project Advisor?

Capstone Scholarly Project advisors

  • Should have expertise and interest in the student’s proposed Capstone project area
  • Should be available to participate as an advisor for the student, estimating a minimum time commitment of approximately 18 hours over the course of 2 years
  • Do not need to be a member of the UMMS Faculty
  • Will complete a “Participation Agreement” that outlines expectations in greater detail

What times are available for students to work on their Capstone scholarly project?

  • Protected Monday afternoons in FOM1 and FOM2 years
  • Non-scheduled time throughout all four years
  • Summer between FOM1 and FOM2 years
  • 1-week Flexible Clinical Experiences (FCE) in the Core Clinical Experiences year (maximum of 2)
  • Advanced Studies (AS) electives
  • 1-month dedicated Capstone time in the AS year

What is expected of students for their capstone project?

Students are required to identify a project of interest to themselves, and align with a faculty advisor. They will then outline clear goals for their work, complete adequate preparation, utilize appropriate methods, depending on the project collect results or create a product, effectively present their work and completed a reflective critique that helps to link this experience to their future. The focus is on students learning and sharing of that learning, not publication or other similar external metrics. There is no expectation for a major written ‘thesis’ but students will be expected to create a poster-like presentation and write answers to specific questions about their own process and learning.

Of note, a capstone project is a lesser commitment than a senior scholar’s project.

What if a student I have not worked with asks me to be their "Capstone Scholarship & Discovery Project Advisor"?

Because the Capstone scholarly project is an opportunity for students to build on prior interests or explore new ones, it is likely that students with whom you have not worked may contact you to serve as an advisor. In addition, through the Capstone we encourage students to develop skills in reaching out and building networks which is an important professional skill. If you feel you are not able to work with this student, or are not an appropriate advisor we would ask that you consider how you might help the student identify someone who could serve in this role.

What if a student asks me to be their "CO-Capstone Scholarship & Discovery Project Advisor"?

There is no formal role for co-advising in the Capstone project process. If you are asked to co-advise, offer instead to act as a resource who will assist with relevant portions of the student project.

What does it mean if a first or second year student asks me to become their "Capstone Scholarship & Discovery Advisor"?

Students typically select their "Scholarship & Discover" advisor at the end of the first semester of their second year. In this role you would be responsible for:

  • Helping the student to focus the SP to the time available
  • Reviewing and advising on brief progress reports designed to support student work over time, the project proposal and final project
  • Participating in project forum and assessment at the conclusion of the course

Because student projects can be completed in any of our 6 competency areas, and our students have a diversity of experience with designing and completing independent mentored work, this role will vary broadly from advisor to advisor. You may be asked to help the student identify resources (other faculty, community agencies, literature, lab experiences, etc.). Remember that this is the student's project, and you act as a resource, not the primary driver. The 12-member Capstone Faculty Committee and course leadership team are available to support you with any questions that may arise throughout the process. As many of you have had the experience cultivating a longitudinal relationship with a student before, you may find your role to be a familiar, but lesser commitment than working with a master's or doctoral level student.

Is this project expected to be something that is presentable at a regional meeting? A national meeting?

While we anticipate that some students will work towards presenting at a regional or national meeting this is not an expectation of the CSD course. Students with such an interest may also choose to participate in the more time-intensive Senior Scholars project. All students will have to share their work through creating a presentation (written or oral).

I'm excited to serve as a Capstone project advisor for a group of students, but am now confused about the amount of time it will take. Have I really agreed to advise two individual projects?

Capstone group projects are allowed in order to support students working together, but in order to ensure that students complete similar levels of work for group and individual projects, we require students to independently submit their own work related to their specific aspect of the project. Our handbook states: “While 2-3 students may work together on a group project with one advisor, it is important to note that the responsibilities and task for each student must be clearly stated such that each member of the group is working to complete a distinct piece of the larger CSP.”

Thus while much of the project proposal may be similar (as it relates to a single project) some pieces should be different as it relates to the individual student’s component of the project. We anticipate advising a group project will not be the same level of work as advising two separate students, but by virtue of the fact that a group project involves more people and is more substantive, we expect it will require more time than a single student and single project.

How big is the project expected to be?

Because of the wide range of potential topics in all 6 competencies, and learning from other similar courses nationally we plan to use a modified framework of Glassick’s criteria for scholarship to determine appropriate proposal and project completion (clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results/output, effective presentation, reflective critique). The design team and Capstone Faculty Committee (CFC) have not set specific requirements regarding page length, etc. The focus is on students learning and sharing of that learning, not publication or other similar external metrics. There is no expectation for a major written ‘thesis’ but students will be expected to create a poster-like presentation and write answers to specific questions about their own process and learning.